Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Michael Cannizzaro


prefrontal, discourse production, fnirs, neuroimaging, traumatic brain injury


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can leave an individual with communicative impairment that may only be detected through the analysis of complex speech production, or discourse. This communicative impairment is thought to arise from the disruption of extrasylvian language centers, specifically areas of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). There a paucity of information in the neuroimaging world regarding the involvement of prefrontal regions during naturalistic productive discourse in both healthy and brain-injured populations. The lack of information is due in part to the methodological constraints of common neuroimaging techniques. This paper investigated the involvement of the PFC in four types of orally produced discourse (procedural, personal narrative, fictional narrative and conversational) in a naturalistic setting by using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to circumvent the methodological constraints of other neuroimaging modalities. The results of this study suggest that the four examined genres of discourse all place significant task demands on the PFC. While these demands are variable between tasks for an individual as well as variable among individuals for a given task, there are regions that are commonly activated throughout individuals.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.